Kitchen Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed: The ‘Any Sharp’ Knife Sharpener

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Are you, like us, fed up of having a kitchen drawer full of dull blunt knifes and mithered by how to use a sharpening steel correctly? We think we’ve found the answer – the ‘Any Sharp’ knife sharpener. It’s a tidy size, sharpens serrated and straight knife blades at exactly the right angle, and its rubberised suction base means that it can be stored anywhere.

We have any number of knife sharpening gizmos in the gréatfood kitchen including two professional long steel sharpeners that we bought from the finest kitchen suppliers which – no matter how much tuition we get from chefs – we never manage to use properly (our blades show the nicks and the scars). Any item has to earn its place in a busy test kitchen that is already crammed with kitchen utensils.

We’ve tried the small old-fashioned hand-held sharpener that reminds us of childhood but it just doesn’t seem to do the job. Perhaps our standards are higher now that we’ve seen chefs on cooking shows finely dicing vegetables in evenly sliced cubes with a whirr of the blade and all their fingers intact at the end.

A blunt knife will cut you faster than a sharp one (though be warned that if you cut yourself with a sharp knife you’ll do more damage). And a sharp knife is faster to work with, delivers those thin slices of apple for a tart, or onion for French Onion soup and the thinnest slices of potato for a dauphinoise or game chips (a much healthier alternative to a bag of chips).

We found our answer at least though you may already have a favourite. It’s called the Any Sharp knife sharpener – it’s about 3 inches wide and three deep so it has a small footprint. Its blades are set at a 20 degree angle so you have to sharpen the knife in the correct position. And the best thing about it? There is a safety guard that you pull down over the blade which doubles up as a lever for a suction cup at the bottom of the sharpener. You can ‘stick’ the knife sharpener onto a fridge or cupboard door – high enough up so that it is free of little hands – but low enough so that you can sharpen a knife while it’s still attached to the surface. No fiddling about in drawers anymore. Sharpen your knives before you use them rather than once a week or once a year.

Be careful: when you sharpen your knifes you need to anchor them in a knife drawer or knife block or put them safely on a magnetic wall rack away from children and animals. Your knifes will be much sharper so you can’t leave them lying about in the drawer!

Where to buy the knife sharpener?

The only place we’ve seen it at a good price is Amazon (though take into account postage and sterling and as you’ll see below, there are lots of them so pick the cheapest unless you want a different colour than blue) and at the time of writing they are on sale at the Meadows and Byrne and at the Ballymaloe Online Shop. You should be able to find it in decent cookware shops.

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